low carb diet

13 Things I’ve Noticed After 3 Weeks On A Low Carb Diet

It’s been 21 days since I started my ketogenic diet, scratch that, my low carb diet.  I can’t say it was completely ketogenic because a week and a half through I upped the carb count from 20-30 g’s a day to 50-60 range.  I may up it a little more.  I lost so much weight during the first week of keto that a few of my family members told me I looked emaciated.  I withered down under 155 lbs.  It’s been a long time since I weighed 155 lbs.

The first 21 days of this diet have been interesting.  I’ve been pretty strict.  I’ve cheated once.  But overall I don’t even feel the urge to cheat.  In fact, I can’t see myself going back to a “cheat day.”  I feel too good cutting the carbs & sugars out.  Here are a few other things I’ve noticed during my first 21 days of a low carb diet:

1.  My cravings for carbs & sugar are gone.  I don’t feel tempted by bread, pasta, rice, or sweets.

2.  My body craves fat.  When I’m hungry I’m tempted by meat, avocados, and cheese.

3.  I can finally sleep like a normal human.  This has been the biggest and most beneficial part of the diet.  I’m a long time insomniac.  Since starting this diet I’ve slept like a baby.  As soon as my head hits the pillow I’m out and I stay out till the next day.

4.  Restaurants are a waste of your time.  Sure you can find ways to eat low carb but it’s usually a chore.  Just learn how to cook and avoid restaurants at all cost.  You’ll be helping your wallet and your body.

5.  I’ve lost a lot of weight.  Too much weight.  If you live an active lifestyle you may have to add some supplemental “good carbs” to you’re diet just to avoid emaciation.

6.  The first week or so of the diet was rough, but once I got past the keto flu my energy levels went through the roof.

7.  My libido is through the roof too.

8.  I don’t know if I’m experiencing mental clarity, but I’m definitely experiencing less anxiety.

9.  I’m less hungry.  I eat slower.  Sometimes I have to remind myself to eat.

10.  Not having a meal until noon  is not a problem.

11.  Coconut oil has become my most used food stuff.

12.  I no longer look forward or even care to have a “cheat day.”

13.  I will continue to stay on a low carb diet and I suggest you try it too.

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The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation By Mark Sisson

There are thousands of health & fitness books out there.  Most of them are forgettable, some are counterproductive, a few are actually good.  The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson is the latter.

Living “primal”, as Mark Sisson has coined it, is not a diet but a way to approach life.  It sounds cliche, but makes sense.  Your overall health is about more than just the food you put in your body.  It also how about you train, sleep, and manage a work/life balance.

The Primal Blueprint is about getting back to your roots.  Sisson argues that with a few minor exceptions, we are identical to our ancestors in how we metabolize food, respond to exercise, cycle through sleep phases each night, absorb sunlight, and deal with various environmental influences.  I agree.

The problem – our genetic recipe is not made to function in today’s modern world, and we’re all suffering for it.  The Standard American Diet (SAD) is loaded with carbs & sugars, we work jobs where we remain sedentary for long stretches of time, and most of us sleep in rooms filled with artificial light.  All things that would be alien to our hunter gathering ancestors.

The Primal Blueprint gives you a way to live in the modern world while staying true to your roots.

The book is broken up into the 8 key concepts of the primal blueprint and 5 steps you can take to start living primally.  The last 20% of the book is a 21 day program to follow that’s also available in PDF form.  I found this part of the book to be unnecessary, but it’s worth giving a quick glance over anyways.

Here are the 8 key concepts of the primal blueprint:

1. You can reprogram your genes:  Sounds like an outlandish statement, but make sense when you apply it to your “homo sapien” genes and not your familial genes.

2. The clue to optimal gene expression are found in evolution:    “Civilization ushered in a decline in human health, due to eating, exercise and lifestyle patterns that compromised optimal gene expression for the first time.  We’ve mismanaged out genes even more severely over the past century to become the fattest, sickest, least fit population in the history of mankind.”

3.  Your body prefers burning fat over carbohydrates:  Agriculture has only existed for the last 5,000 years.  The first human was recorded about 50,000 years.  This means that for 45,000 we lived as hunter gatherers and had diet high in fats/ low in carbs.

4.  80% of your body composition success is determined by how you eat:  “The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve reveals that eating 150 grams per day or less results in effortless weigh loss or maintenance; eating over 150 grams ( per SAD recommendations) results in lifelong insidious weight gain and accelerated disease risk.”

5.  Grains are totally unnecessary (and so are legumes, for that matter): “Grains elect a high insulin response, offer minimal nutritional value relative to Primal foods, and contain anti-nutrients that promote inflammation and compromise digestion and immune function.  They are a cheap source of calories and entirely unnecessary for health.”

6.  Saturated fat and cholesterol are not your enemy: Go ahead and have extra bacon with those eggs cooked in kerry gold butter.

7.  Exercise is ineffective for weight management:  “Frequent medium-to-difficult intensity exercise promotes the consumption of additional calories and less general activity in the ensuing hours.  The ‘compensation’ principle asserts that exercise is a wash when it comes to weight management.”

8.  Maximum fitness can be achieved in minimal time with high-intensity workouts:  Your hunter gather ancestors weren’t doing bicep curls and cross fit training.

Conclusion

If you have been reading my blog you know that I’ve been doing a ketogenic diet.  This is similar to a primal diet, but it’s more restrictive when it comes to carbs.  On a primal diet your aloud to eat up to 100 grams of carbs, whereas a ketogenic diet you’re allowed only 20 -30 grams of carbs.  Besides that, the diets are almost identical – high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs.  I’ve been transitioning to more of a primal diet in the last week since I’ve been losing too much weight on the keto diet.

If your interested in learning more about high fat/low carb dieting or just interested about being healthier I suggest reading The Primal Blueprint.

8 Things I’ve Noticed During My First Week Of Keto

It’s been over a week since I starting a keto diet.  Here are a few things I’ve noticed:

1.  Keto flu Is Real:  Before starting the diet I heard that some people experienced what is known as the “keto flu.”  Some people had minor symptoms and full blown flu like symptoms for weeks.  I thought it wouldn’t hit me so hard since my original diet wasn’t heavy in carbs and sugar.  I was wrong.

The first couple days I was fine, but by day three I was floored.  Day 4 was even worse.  It wasn’t until I started chugging bullion and popping magnesium and potassium pills that I started to feel normal again.  It’s day 9 and I think it’s safe to say the worse is over.

2. Brain Fog But Less Anxiety:  The bad part of my first week on keto – the brain fog.  The good – less anxiety.  I’ve gone through waves of brain fog since starting the diet.  When the brain fog hits my concentration goes out the window.  Even typing out a simple post becomes a chore.  Yesterday I tried to write a post and ended up just staring at the computer screen like an idiot.  But I was a happy idiot, which is the good side about going keto.  Since starting this diet I’ve noticed that I’ve become a lot more calm.  I don’t react negatively to situations that would usually anger me (road rage has gone way down).

3. Less Energy:  My energy levels took a major hit since starting this diet.  There coming back a little, but it’s nowhere near the levels I had when I was eating a moderate to high carb diet.  I still workout, but I just don’t have the same juice.  This has been the most disappointing aspect of the diet so far.

I started a keto diet because I heard it was suppose to give you more energy.  I knew it would take sometime to become “keto adapted”(your body learns to burn fat instead of glucose), but I didn’t expect my energy to dip this low.

4.  Shredding Weight:  I’m losing so much weight I’m afraid I might wither away.  Losing weight wasn’t my main goal of this diet since I didn’t have much to lose in the first place, but if your looking to shred weight quickly keto is definitely for you.

5.  Thirst:  I’ve been drinking over a gallon of water a day plus a couple cups of bullion.  After being hit by the keto flu hard on day 3 & 4 I’ve made sure to keep hydrated.

6.  It’s Tougher Than You Think:  Limiting yourself to 20-30 carbs a day isn’t easy.  You find yourself analyzing every food label.  You’ll start to notice that foods you thought were good choices are actually loaded with carbs.

It’s also, hard to eat a ton of fat while not getting an equal amount of protein.  Sure, a ribeye steak may have 63 grams of fat but it also has 69 grams of protein.  A keto diet is suppose to 65% fat and 35% protein, a balancing act that is sometimes tough to manage.  The last week I’ve been on a quest to find foods that are high in fat without much protein, and 0 carbs.  My recommendation – learn to love coconut oil, avocados, and cacao butter.

7. Phantom Hunger Pains: I get these weird hunger pains after meals that I can only describe as phantom hunger pains.  I’m full yet I still have something telling me I need to eat more.  I guess it’s my body’s way off dealing with the carb & sugar withdrawal.

8.  Sleep:  For as long as I can remember I’ve had a problem with insomnia.  It’s either I can’t fall asleep or I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and won’t be able to fall back asleep.  Not anymore.

I sleep like baby since starting the keto diet.  No tossing and turning.  No more waking up in the middle of the night.  The most beneficial and unexpected part of this diet is the quality of sleep I’m getting.

Conclusion 

After a week I think I may up my carb intake from 20-30g’s a day to the 40-50 range.  I feel that limiting you carb intake to 20-30g’s is for people who are really trying to cut weight, which is not one of my goals.  I also really don’t like the idea of skimping on certain vegetables in fear they’ll push me past my carb limit.

If your interested in starting a keto diet I suggest you don’t start it while training.  If you’re accustom to the Standard American Diet your first week is going to be brutal.  Your energy levels will be shot.  They say it takes 21 days on average to transform your body into fat burner.  It’s probably best to start a training program after that time has passed.

If you do decide to train hard or have a physically demanding job while doing keto I suggest you shoot for the 100g a day average instead of 20-30g’s.